After Josh Hazlewood was replaced in Australia’s team for the one-off match against India beginning on Wednesday, Scott Boland is in line to play in this week’s World Test Championship final.
Although Michael Neser has entered the official 15-man squad, Boland currently appears set to partner Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc at The Oval.
Hazlewood has bowled at full speed in recent training sessions in Formby and Beckenham ahead of Australia’s six-Test tour of the United Kingdom, but he is still dealing with a left Achilles injury as well as a side strain that flared up during the recent Indian Premier League.
George Bailey said
“Josh was very, very close to being given the green light but we are cognisant that our upcoming schedule means this is not a one-off Test match of us,” Chair of Selectors George Bailey said.
“Michael’s County form has been strong and knowing that he was going to be close by allowed for him to keep playing and for us to be able to call on him. He is a great strength to have as part of the fast bowling group.
“This will give Josh an ideal preparation leading into Edgbaston. With six Test matches in a little over seven weeks we will need all of our fast bowling assets.”
While coach Andrew McDonald’s team is anxious to win their first WTC title, the short turnaround before the five-Test Ashes campaign remains a factor in managing their fast bowlers.
“Definitely consideration for (the schedule) – we don’t want to go too far ahead,” McDonald told reporters.
“We’ve got the WTC final to play, which we are excited about, but on the back of that we have to quickly turn our attention to England and the Ashes. There are short turnarounds there. That’s nothing we’re not used to.
“So, there’ll always be considerations around management … I’d say there’d be some moving parts amongst the quicks.”
Neser was not nominated to Australia’s full 17-man squad for the first three Tests in the United Kingdom, but he has been practising with the squad in recent days during centre-wicket sessions in southeast London, along with another reserve quick in Sean Abbott.
Neser, who has played two Tests, was already in the UK, having taken 19 wickets at 25.63 for Glamorgan in the County Championship.